iPhone foldable still years from launch, might not see the light of day
2019 was once heralded as the “Year of the Foldable” with the launch of devices from Royole, Samsung, Huawei and Motorola, but none of the devices really took off for a variety of reasons. The most spectacular misstep came from Samsung whose first generation Galaxy Fold launch spectacularly imploded when multiple reviewers developed display issues with their review units. Ultimately, however, pricing and ongoing durability concerns have consigned them to the periphery of the smartphone market even if they do pose an attractive proposition.
This has not been lost on Apple, it seems, who despite investigating and testing various components including foldable displays needed for a foldable iPhone, doesn’t appear to be anywhere near ready to release a foldable device. According to South Korean publication The Elec, Apple has yet to ready its supply chain for such a launch and this would typically happen at least two to three years from launch. Even if Apple did get the stage where it sets up its partners for a foldable launch by the end of 2021, the earliest we would see such a device on the market would be 2024.
According to The Elec, Samsung, which has been by far the most successful foldable smartphone OEM to date, sold 2.5 million Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Z Fold2 devices in 2020, which was short of its own 4.5 million unit target. Not only are durability concerns a major issue for Apple, the profitability of such a device is tempering its enthusiasm for the project. Of the two designs Apple was testing, a flip-type design is the one that it is said to have decided to investigate further. At this stage, however, it is far from guaranteed that Apple will bring it to market.